IN an extraordinary turn of events, it seems that Steamships Trading Company may have breached its own corporate value of ‘integrity’ in the manner in which it reneged on its sponsorship of the Crocodile Prize after seven months of promising 'the cheque is in the mail'.
Steamships most recent annual report discloses that it “redefined its values” in 2013, with the value of integrity (truth, honour, uprightness) said to include “taking the more ethical and honest path; honouring our commitments and delivering on our promises; creating a bond of trust that sustains relationships with ... the communities in which we do business.”
There is a long list of promises Steamships did not deliver on in relation to the 2014 Crocodile Prize, all of them contained in emails from corporate relations officer, Wanita Wakus, to me….
30 October 2013: Steamships is happy to support the Crocodile Prize next year.
10 January 2014: Could you forward me the dates of when entries are due, presentation date etc for the 2014 Crocodile Prize award?
10 January 2014: We can also do a cheque presentation to get some publicity going in the local media for CPA and Steamships.
29 April 2014: Steamships is still interested. I will raise the payment and advise you.
30 April 2014: I will be in touch early next week in regard to scheduling a date for the cheque presentation.
6 May 2014: I've only budgeted K5000 for this year because that was the amount we paid last year. So we're willing to give that K5000 towards the cause.
23 May 2014: We'll take the AU$2500. Payment is being raised, will advise when accounts team have made the deposit.
Yes, seven separate instances of providing assurances or strong suggestions that represented 'commitments to be honoured and promises to be delivered on'.
The result – the Crocodile Prize short story award canned and not even a breath as to why.
Is Steamships’ statement of values, sitting proudly on page two of its 2013 annual report, meant to be taken seriously or is it a cynical piece of corporate fluff?
In developments yesterday:
- An anonymous benefactor in Australia committed to donate funds to bridge the Steamships' shortfall, thus maintaining the capacity of the PNGAA Book Publishing Program
- The former Steamships' prize was rebadged The People's Award for Short Stories